There’s more to giving your pet treats than just picking the first thing you find on the shelf and slipping a few to your pet every now and then. Read on below as your Ceres vet gives you some basic tips on pet treats.
When you’re purchasing a bag of dog or cat treats, take a moment and read the ingredients list. Pick treats that are complete and balanced, or ones that at least try to provide some health benefit to the pet. Make sure the treats don’t have a lot of salt, as too much sodium can be hazardous to a pet’s health. Ask your veterinary professional for his or her recommendation on a high-quality, safe treat for your pet.
One of the most common mistakes pet owners make is giving their pet too many treats. All those calories will add up, leading to weight gain, obesity, a host of other health problems. Ask your veterinarian how many treats per day is okay, and keep track of how many you give out. Also make sure everyone in your family knows the treat protocol so your pet isn’t getting too many treats by visiting every family member.
In addition to not overfeeding treats, it’s important to use them correctly. Treats are wonderful tools for training, modifying behavior, and reinforcing good behavior—if they’re used correctly. Consider breaking the treat into smaller pieces to give throughout a training session. This way, your pet isn’t overeating and you save money.
Make sure you give your pet the treat immediately after the good behavior is accomplished. If you wait, your pet won’t associate the behavior with the reward and your training will not work.
If you’re not using commercially-available pet treats and instead are opting for the “people food” variety, do so cautiously. A lot of fatty, spicy, or unfamiliar foods will lead to upset stomach or even pancreatitis. Contact your Ceres veterinarian to discuss using people food as treats, and ask what healthier options might be available.